Wildlife rangers in India are planning to use Calvin Klein cologne to help locate a suspected man-eating tiger, accused of killing 13 people in the past two years.
A large-scale hunt involving patrol teams, 100 infra-red cameras, trained elephants, paragliders and drones has so far failed to find the female tiger and her two cubs for the past few months in regional Maharashtra state.
The tigress, nicknamed Avni, is blamed for the deaths of at least 13 people in the town of Pandharkawada, and terrified villagers have been warned against going out in the evening and to venture out in groups.
Now the hunters are deploying a new weapon in their efforts to capture the elusive animal — men’s cologne.
Scientific research discovered several years ago that the smell of Obsession for Men cologne was attractive to big cats, and Indian authorities plan to spray it around to try and capture Avni, wildlife official Sunil Limaye told the BBC.
“We have been told the cologne can work as a good scent bait for the tigress. So we will spray the perfume on the trees and ground and see what happens,” he said.
KM Abharna, the senior forestry official in charge of the hunt, told the BBC that Avni has proven too wily for human efforts to date.
“She is very clever. She is with her cubs, so she is extra careful. She manages to outwit us,” he said.
“The terrain doesn’t make the job any easier for us.”
The unique technique being deployed in the hunt for the big cat has caught worldwide attention, and some people question why they need to find the tigress at all.
A Twitter account has opened campaigning to protect the tigress, using the hashtag #LetAvniLive.
Twitter user AJ Raina is a vocal objector to the hunt for the tigress.
“We cannot destroy the homes of other beings and murder them for our greed,” they wrote.
“This is not the compassionate world we all dream of.”
Many opponents to the hunt were concerned that Avni would be killed, but senior wildlife officer AK Mishra told the BBC that is not the intension.
“We do not intend to kill her. But it will all depend on the circumstances. If she attacks us, we’ll have to shoot,” he said.
“It’s a game of wait and watch.”